Below the Surface on Mental Health, Groupthink, and Religion with Dr. Mitch Harlan of Truth Talks

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It’s mash-up week at Make it Mentionable! When Dr. Mitch Harlan reached out to me to interview him on his show, Truth Talks, we decided to create an episode mash-up mixing the spirit of both shows together. The result was topic roulette in search of perspective, wisdom, and truth. As always, no topic is off-limits and we dive below the surface on mental health, religion, groupthink, and truths of being human.

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Alyssa Patmos 0:04
This is Make It Mentionable. I’m Alyssa Patmos and this is the show about being human in a world that encourages us to be robots. I invite you to join me as we journey through the mess, the magic and the mania in between. Because what we can talk about, we can manage. This honest conversation extravaganza includes free flowing conversations and high doses of vulnerability to remind you that you aren’t alone. No topic is off limits, and episodes are designed to leave you smarter, aka more self aware than when you came. I am so glad you’re here.

Hello, hello. It is Alyssa Patmos and today I am here with Dr. Mitch from Truth Talks. And we are kind of doing a Truth Talks and Make It Mentionable mashup. And Dr. Mitch. I’m so excited to be here and to be talking with you. Because I love the mission of what truth talks is all about. And so for people who maybe aren’t familiar, can you give a quick summary around? What really the mission of having this conversation is for you?

Dr. Mitch Harlan 1:23
Absolutely. Alyssa, thank you for having us on. And also being on our show. At the same time. I do like the whole mashup thing that we’re doing, really what happened with this situation as I actually saw you and I liked what you were doing. It’s a story based type of format. You’re here in Colorado. And as I’ve watched some of your stuff I see clause a myself 20 years ago, and I’m thinking man, this is a lot of fun. And at the same token, I see a lot of those same stories developing and part of what I tell everybody is in 50 years from now, obviously technology is going to be different, but there’s going to be you on side of the camera is going to be another me on the side of the camera. And the thing about the human condition is it’s probably going to be a lot of similar stories.

Alyssa Patmos 2:05
Yeah, yes, yes. So I think we should dive in, because neither of us really do surface level conversations in either of our shows. So I think we should start with with a bigger topic, and that is mental health. And so in the past, mental health, you know, was looked at as an afterthought, and it wasn’t really something that you proactively take care of. And we really started seeing a shift in younger people with how much we have to prioritize mental health, whether and that’s even forcing organizations to consider mental health in entirely new ways. And I know you have interviewed a ton of people on this topic or with stories surrounding this. And so I just want to know, what are some things that you’re noticing based on the amalgamation of those stories and your experience about shifting trends and wisdom around mental health.

Dr. Mitch Harlan 3:05
We’ve got this massive, massive problem with mental health. And I think there’s different levels of it, though. So there’s certain levels of mental health where Listen, these people need absolute professional care, I mean, somebody who can really sit down with them, they’re going to be non functioning in life, there’s just going to be a whole level that probably you and I through our storytelling, our podcast, we’re probably not going to help these people. There’s another sector that is really based around the world, the community and how others want us to think and we’re so group mind and now with politics, that division of race, the division of all this stuff, that we are putting such an undue stress on people to be a certain way, act a certain way, or to be labeled a certain way. And when that happens, you have stunted all growth in that person. There’s no more looking for a dream, there’s no more it like you doing this podcast, I’m inspired by your podcast because you have a dream. You it’s actually a unicorn now most people don’t have a dream. They’re just trying to get past every day of what’s wrong with them. So when we do mental health, we do things like addiction, where we will interview people and give four or five different avenues out of a way of getting past their addiction. And the reality of it is we just want to reach people and whatever avenue it takes to get you better. That’s how we approach mental health.

Alyssa Patmos 4:24
I, I want to go back to what you were saying about labels. Because in I’ve had a very intimate journey with labels as it relates to mental health. And I think there’s some nuance here that’s really important. So I’m not shy about talking about the fact that I have obsessive compulsive disorder. I was diagnosed when I was like 14 or 15. And there are times when it is terrible and there times when it’s a little bit better. The thing about labels, I’ve come to a very similar conclusion as you I don’t I don’t like them and I especially don’t like them when it becomes a way For us to just be a victim of whatever’s happening in our lives. However, I will say that there was a moment when the label was useful when I was first diagnosed, and did not. I didn’t know like, honestly, my mom told me that it was the devil. When I first told her, I thought I had OCD. We laugh about it now. And we have much different philosophies now. But she, the her, the first words out of her mouth was, it’s the devil. And I’m like, Okay, so I’m either like, possessed, or I’m crazy, that’s not helpful. So in that sense, getting the diagnosis and understanding what it was was really helpful for me and borderline empowering. The differences though, is we can get attached to that. And when that happens, language becomes one of our biggest limiters. It’s such a powerful thing for connection. But it can be such a limiter, when we get detached to an identity in a way that doesn’t allow us to evolve.

Dr. Mitch Harlan 6:08
I’m going to go one step further with that. So one of the reasons that I really wanted to do this show as well, so my son has Asperger’s. And my wife was adamant about getting him diagnosed right? Early on, especially when we knew that something wasn’t quite there. And you got to remember this as a way back when we really didn’t know a whole lot about it. Her theory, though, was exactly dead on to what I believe. And obviously now with interviewing many of them, which I actually did his podcast, which was really fun when you do your son, the idea behind his diagnosis was how can we help him the most, and so you had to have a diagnosis, that you could then really research what it was to be able to really facilitate his powers his strings, with the condition of which he’s had, we then were able to get him on IEP programs, IEP processes, so that the teachers could understand that sometimes he’s going to fidget, he’s going to be doing some other things that is not classically with the other kids. At this point in time, now he holds two jobs. Now he plays for the blue knights in a world class percussion ensemble. It’s, it’s amazing. I agree with you 100%. So it’s a language that people do, and people want to jump on that I’m a big believer in diagnosis, but the crutch when you use that as a way of escaping success, a way of escaping responsibility. That’s not okay. And I think what you do what I do, it’s just about helping somebody get past a little bit something else without saying, Tell me about your childhood. Tell me about what has happened to you in your life. And I noticed is not popular among a lot of people. But tomorrow’s a brand new day. And if you want to start a whole new life over tomorrow, you can sure do it because the only people give a shit about your past are the people that probably don’t give a damn batch anyway.

Alyssa Patmos 7:59
And yes, and that’s why I like cling to identities can limit us from being able to do that, like in reality, we could, we could shed whatever we wanted tomorrow and pretend to be a new person. But we put all these boxes around us where we don’t see like, that’s possible. To some degree, I love having conversations about mental health because it it gives very concrete pictures and and I also think it opens the door for vulnerability. If if I can be vulnerable about having this and add some humor to it, then maybe it makes it a little bit easier for someone else to. But on top of that, mental health can also look like the extremes. So for the average person who might not have a diagnosis, you also said something else really important around living everyday like they feel like they just have to be better or like they’re not their best or thinking something’s wrong with them. I think going around with that type of thinking this, this feeling broken, can impact our relationships more than we realize, too. And so I think I think we should talk just a little bit about for, for the people who aren’t at the extreme, and who feel sort of like they’re walking this middle ground of like maybe they have compounding health issues. Or maybe their thoughts are just kind of in the dumpster right now. Because life’s a little bit harder. What are some things for them? What are some things that you’ve learned from the Mental Health sphere that can also help when it’s not the extreme and it’s it’s just feels feels average?

Dr. Mitch Harlan 9:32
For so for most people, right? You you have created your own story. That’s that’s where that kind of stops and so a couple things that you will recognize the more shows that you do. The more experiences you get with story, the more experiences that you hear from people, you start to really collectively get this really great understanding of human thought process. It’s It’s pretty intense and it’s pretty insane when you start averaging all this stuff out, there’s a certain human behavior pattern. And we could get into brain chemistry and all that stuff, which is really in depth. And it’s really pretty awesome. But a person has to really, truly understand human behavior in the human mind and the chemistry that goes along with that. And it’s a detailed process. So you got to understand that sometimes when you have fight or flight, you’re hyped up. It’s going to give you a certain story that day, you may feel the victim, you may feel the aggressor, you may feel like right now, if you happen to have won the Powerball last night, this podcast today would be so significantly different than than not winning it. Everything I said you would absolutely 100% get along because you wouldn’t give two damns about it, you’d be like, I’m going out to find my new vacation home, and I can’t wait to get this podcast over. And you’d be the happiest person in the world. That’s understanding human behavior. So a person has to really look back and say, Is it the story I’m telling myself versus a story other people are seeing? We see it over and over and over doing true talks. And when I’m doing interviews for books, for the most part, almost no one truly cares where you’re at or where you’re going unless it affects them. So most of the story that you’re putting on yourself is purely the own pressure that you do. And it it revolves around relationships, it revolves around money, it revolves around children, it revolves around diagnosis and your overall health. A person has to really understand the entire picture and profile of that otherwise, it doesn’t work. We had a guy who had an addiction in college, he’s now an addiction specialist, one of my favorite podcasts I’ve done Brian wall, he really understood that he was manipulating the system because he could get away with it. And until finally, he got called out on his own shit. And when that happens, that’s that real eye opener, but we give so much latitude. Now, back in the day, you didn’t get that. Most people, unfortunately, they they don’t really recognize who they’re listening to. And I tell people all the time, whatever you surround yourself with whoever you listen to, it’s how you’re going to think it’s going to it’s going to dictate your chemistry is going to dictate your emotions is going to dictate everything so guy like Jordan Peterson whether you like him love him or hate him. The problem is he tells you directly how it works with not only human psychology, but human behavior and guys just a freakin genius. So that’s really where I would go down that line.

Alyssa Patmos 12:21
Yeah, I think it’s, it’s, it’s interesting, because, you know, there’s the path of people who look at trauma, and I’m a firm believer that trauma shapes how we cope, and the coping strategies that we choose to employ to survive. And so but to me, that’s only one doorway. And so you know, a lot of people preach that as like, Okay, you you have to go back and you have to look at everything. And and, you know, the reality is, is that at any given point, some person might not be ready to go that far, they might not be ready for that. And so it’s the different doorways in and for some people, that’s a very mental activity, like writing their thoughts out reorganizing them. But there’s another one that I’ve had to learn the lesson the hard way around. And you mentioned the nervous system, around the body being an entry point to moving through those stories much quicker to and just being able to say, Okay, wait, my hands are kind of clammy right now. Maybe I’m nervous, or, or my breathing is speeding up a little bit. And, and it just being that, okay, my breathing is speeding up a little bit. It doesn’t have to be this 50 sentences later story of, and now the world is ending,

Dr. Mitch Harlan 13:37
Right? You’re so right. But you know, you actually mentioned the key, in my opinion, anyway, is vulnerability, when you are vulnerable. Here’s the one beautiful thing about the human condition. Everybody truly does want to help you. Now, that doesn’t mean you’re going to get great information, a great advice. But most people do act out of love this, this world is not as divided. And as crazy as people want to make it. I’ve talked to too many people, majority of people truly want to help you out. Just get that vulnerability. You know what I’ve got OCD and man, I’m really struggling with this, somebody is going to say some nugget eight, we tag it in true toxic eight seconds, and in every conversation has a chance to potentially change your life. Just be vulnerable Knight Brene, Brown made that very clear when she their TED talk right is just be vulnerable. And when you are, you’re going to find the answers that you’re looking for.

Alyssa Patmos 14:25
I agree. And vulnerability is is something that I think is challenging, because we’re not always modeled how to do it, or it doesn’t always feel safe or people have you know, stamped on us when we’ve been vulnerable in the past. And so it’s first being willing to be vulnerable with yourself, I think is is critical and acknowledging the pieces of you that you like and don’t like. And I think this is huge, especially when it comes up we talked about coping mechanisms but we live in a world filled with distraction and denial, and we just busy ourselves to avoid things that we don’t really want to confront in us. And it’s one pathway for how addiction has become so prevalent, whether that’s an addiction to walking to the fridge when you’re uncomfortable, or an addiction to alcohol or drugs or sex or, or anything that you can get addicted to. So, I know you’ve interviewed and collected stories on addiction as well. And and what what has been your experience with the shifts that are happening in how people are addressing addiction?

Dr. Mitch Harlan 15:38
So another great topic, you know, addiction is just, I think we’re all probably addicted to something in the experience that I’ve had with all these different types of addictions, if you will, it really comes down to purpose and and do you have a desire for something bigger than your addiction? And then many times, that’s actually the answer to the addiction problem. And from a lot of what we hear addiction kind of comes from this idea where that’s too hard, I don’t understand it, I don’t want to learn the knowledge to go do something else. And then they fill that with something that is usually not in the best interest of behavior patterns. And many times it’s addiction. Addiction is there’s either a road out, or you’re gonna stay on the road you’re on. And for some people, we ran a story where this guy again, he was throwing up bombs he was in your face, he was calling people losers for being drinkers and we still ran that segment. Because I know there’s a certain part of the the world that has to hear it that way. We had the other guy who said Listen, man, I found God. And he’s I was the only thing that got me out of this. I just kept praying every day, I gotta have a break, I got to have a break his own family and shunned him every everybody had shunned him, they had borrowed money, he sucked it up and alcohol and drugs and so forth. That was his way out. And we had another guy who just literally got tired of being addicted. And he said, I’m just going to change and he did it all in one day. It wasn’t like he had to wean off or see somebody or do something, he says I’m going to quit, I need something bigger for me, and I’m going to find it. So it’s, again, when you the reason that we run all kinds of different stories is exactly that there is usually no one thing that is going to make you stop being addicted to whatever this leads down to that, again, it’s understanding human behavior, when that brain gets those real endorphin responses of those funny videos, that might be two minutes. Next thing you know, you’ve watched it for three hours, that’s an addiction, whether we like it or not, it’s an addiction. So I think a lot of that is defining the terms and then really deciding how do you need to come out of this? And what else is it affecting in it? And my kids know if it’s affecting their grades? Well, I’m gonna take away their addiction source, right.

Alyssa Patmos 17:48
I think it’s also the there’s, there’s not always one one way and I love that you keep bringing that up around why you share an interview so many people and share so many stories, because there’s not, there’s not one way that’s going to work for everybody. And I think that’s the hard part of being in such a specialized society. Because if you go to any specialist, there’s they’re going to tell you, this is the way this is the way that it has to be done. This is why it came up. And this is how you’re going to fix it. And I just don’t believe that I don’t believe that. And it also matters at what point you’re in. Because at times, if you’re not ready to change, it doesn’t matter what strategy you try to adopt, it’s not going to work if you don’t want to change. And they’re someone who I respect deeply around the topic of addiction is Dr. Gabor Ma Tei. Have you heard of him? If not, I highly encourage you to look up his stuff. I basically started the podcast because I would love to have Dr. Gabor Ma Tei on at some point. And he’s very well known, but he is he worked in addiction centers. He was a medical doctor. And he switched more over to the human behavior side of things and worked in addiction centers and just saw different things with people’s stories and the way that trauma was not being talked about, and how people didn’t understand that addiction can be cultivated. From there as a coping mechanism. Like we don’t give people the language to understand that we’re doing this as a way to cope with something and allowing yourself the compassion to unwind what what that is and so I he came out with a film recently a documentary called The Wisdom of trauma. And it’s it’s amazing, it’s it’s really, really great for unwinding some of the language around how we’ve gotten to this place where addiction is is so so so prevalent.

Dr. Mitch Harlan 19:47
So again, it’s the idea of sharing your vulnerability with a lot of people, not one. There is no one person that has all the answers. It’s multiple sources. And what I can already tell you how I would Probably like this guy that you speak of, you just said he’s shared 1000s of these stories or tons of these stories or however many stories, that’s the person who can generally separate themselves from an opinion. And you’re not sharing an opinion, you’re just sharing multiple avenues or options of a way out.

Alyssa Patmos 20:18
I agree. And I have to add some nuance to it. Because I think nuance is where the magic is. And especially in a soundbite culture, I think there’s a really hard, there’s a hard there’s a gray area in this distinction, because I think in the Western world, we tend to willpower through everything, like everything comes down to willpower, and it’s we live in a very fast paced, individualistic society, we’re disconnected from the natural rhythms of nature in many ways. And I think part of what we see younger people trying to do, at least in some circles, is like reintegrate pieces of nature in different ways. And not just in New Age circles, but like people who think about housing differently, or whatnot. And so for me, there’s, I agree that sometimes like, you have to be able to suck it up and not devolve into the challenges so much that they just consume you. And that’s what we see a lot of people doing. At the same time. There’s also this pressure of like, oh, just suck it up, like do it go get through it, it’s not a big deal. And that can lead to feeling like self care is just willpower, or is personal development is just willpower. And I have a problem with that. Because there are times when patterns that you’re dealing with obstacles, things that you need to learn to uncover more of who you are, take longer, it’s just, we can’t control how fast it goes all the time, and it takes longer. So the nuance for me is, we have to be able to have a lightness about that. Like, we have to be able to sort of laugh at the obstacles that come our way, so that we can move forward, but not let them completely consume us, but also not deny them and, and just shove them down to the point where we’re just like pretending like everything’s fine, but we’re so rigid. And really, if someone cooked us the wrong way we would explode.

Dr. Mitch Harlan 22:26
All, all of human greatness comes from failure. Every single aspect of it comes from failure. If you if you don’t, if you don’t fail, if you don’t understand loss, if you don’t understand hard times, you’re never going to find the success that most people consider successful. uber successful people have all failed way more than once, usually 10 times and miserably. But they just kept going. They persevered through it and they said, You know what? Yeah, it happened. I’m gonna buckle up. I’m gonna do it again. So there is a gray area, the moment that somebody says, You know what, you’re right. This is the reason you failed. There, done. That’s over. I mean, that’s statistically proven time and time again, the human psyche just can’t handle it. And it’s even getting worse in an area where we’re so endorphin driven. And where it’s immediate gratification. I need to do this now. And I need to be a millionaire tomorrow. Not gonna happen. For most people, there’s one or two, but for the majority is not going to be there.

Alyssa Patmos 23:25
Yeah, and I think a lot of that I hear twinges of resilience in there. And and it might be a discussion around that, where I don’t think we’re often modeled resilience or taught resilience. And so it’s one of the things that like has to be hard earned in a lot of ways, but it’s something that truly can be cultivated. And I think part of it is, is being more in touch with our emotions, but not from like a soft, sappy way, at times, if you need it cool. But emotions are not there for that purpose. They’re there to communicate things with us. And then our mind makes up stories about it. And so the resilience piece comes in with how can you navigate emotions and not let them turn into again, this paragraph long story that now has you thinking you’re the worst person in the world because you have failed at something. And the having a better relationship with our emotions in a lot of ways I think can help us bounce back quicker because really, that’s what we’re talking about, is what’s going to unlock your key to be able to bounce back quicker because that’s how that’s how you become successful. Because challenges are inevitable.

Dr. Mitch Harlan 24:38
We always say get so busy that your emotions don’t even come into play.

Alyssa Patmos 24:43
I don’t know if I agree with this. Yeah, busy.

Dr. Mitch Harlan 24:46
Just get busy. You know, it’s it’s that same thing, like who doesn’t have emotions we all do. If I’m angry about something. Why am I angry about it nine times out of 10 It’s because I didn’t do something that I should have done and now I mean angry about it because it suit it all falls back on me. Everything in your life story is how you react and your emotional state of mind. And that is not a, a situation of story that’s actually a situation of human chemistry and human behavior. And we have science, we can predict these things. There’s so much science out there that that really hammers home all of the reasons why we’re having these emotional reactions to things. We just don’t want to look at it. And because sometimes that’s an emotion. It’s like, oh, I just kind of would rather deny that than say, oh, yeah, shit, that’s me.

Alyssa Patmos 25:35
Well, we also want to be happy all the time. But they’re, you were not meant happy all the time. And so it’s the ability to sit in discomfort. People can use busyness as an addiction to, it’s like, I’m an I don’t want to deal with anything going inside of me going on. I don’t want to deal with how I’m processing things. So I’m just going to go be super busy, which will eventually lead to a crash and burn. But I’m with you in the sense of like, okay, if we’re starting down the spiral path, wait, let’s divert attention, go to a new place. For me. It’s playing piano. Now. I was like, I had this strong urge where I wanted to keyboard. And it and I think it was because intuitively I knew that if I start overthinking, I can just go play the piano instead. And it changes the thought process. And then 10 minutes later, I’m fine and can come back to what I was on. So that version of busy, I’m totally with you on.

Dr. Mitch Harlan 26:30
Yeah, again, his definition, right? Like each person is going to define their own definition to whatever it is that someone says, and but at some point, at some point, no matter what it is that you’re going through, you got to make that decision to move forward to move past it and get on so you can become productive.

Alyssa Patmos 26:45
Well, yeah, I mean, at that point, like, if we’re, if we go super high up, then it’s, it’s the question of like, are you choosing to live? Or are you choosing to die, because for every second, you’re not choosing life and evolution, you’re effectively choosing death, because we’re living and dying at the same time, all the time. Now moving. It’s just a perspective. So. So I love this conversation, because we have different opinions, and different opinions, make the world go round. Or at least I believe that it’s a foundational principle to the world going around. And yet we live in a time where it’s hard for people to engage in conversation unless people have the exact same opinion as them. And it’s why one of the reasons I like your show, it’s one of the reasons I run my show the way that I do. And we see a lot of division, but we don’t see very many bridges across the division. And so I’m curious what, what your thoughts are on so.

Dr. Mitch Harlan 27:49
So that’s a great topic, right? So we don’t really have a difference of opinion on it, what we have is two different options in which you can take, that’s the difference. So when people hear this conversation, they’re either going to like what I have to say more, or they’re going to like what you have to say more. But we as you and I doing this podcast, we win, we still win. Because if that person then takes the idea of buckle it up, pull him up, let’s go get busy, let’s get this done. Or if they need to address their emotions or whatever they need to do on that end of the spectrum, what have we done, we’ve still helped an individual out, right? That’s why the world is in the way it is. It’s either if you don’t like my opinion, then I’m done with you. It’s Over and out. It’s just another option.

Alyssa Patmos 28:35
How do you see this playing out in politics, though, because in that realm, it’s it’s, we have two parties. And so anytime there’s two instead of three or four, you know, it becomes even more polarizing. And we’re seeing that unfold with how COVID has been handled with things around the election. So so how do you explain the paths out and the ripple effects that are happening from the Division politically right now?

Dr. Mitch Harlan 29:09
So politics is always a tough one, right? That’s a that’s an interesting topic to bring up. We’re gonna piss everybody off. And nobody’s gonna listen to either one of us at this point. So politics is group mentality. And if you do ever listen to Jordan Peterson is one of my favorite, you’ll hear me talk about him all the time, because he is certainly somebody that I really admire. group mentality is a dangerous mentality, you will always find a group that agrees with you. And then a group mentality gives you a ton of power, because now you may have two friends that don’t agree with you. But listen, I got 500 people in my group that says we’re right, right. So the difference in group and individual mentality and individual mentality and politics, and I’ll say it right here, there is a guy by name of Donald Trump a lot of people freaking hated you know what some of his policies were incredibly good. I can also set here as an independent type of guy and say, You know what, yeah, necessarily like his delivery right? I can talk about immigration. And I can say, You know what I don’t like what Joe Biden has done. I don’t like this about Joe Biden, or maybe Joe Biden did something well, and I can say, You know what, I kind of like that policy or whatever that may have helped out the country or helped out the world. That’s individual mentality versus group mentality. Individually, you’re the lone wolf. And that’s a scary place for a lot of people. And there are people who still can’t say which side of the fence they’re on, because they’re scared to death or what everyone’s gonna think, Well, if that’s you, you’re going to have a big problem, because it no one’s ever going to trust you with anything. No one’s ever going to know where you stand on anything. And you’re very rarely going to get the truth from people. Here’s what I here’s another topic that I always love to hear if somebody ever says to me, man, I just, they just lie to me all the time, half the time or three quarters of time when someone says that people lie to them, because they know they can’t handle the truth. And that’s something that a person really needs to focus on. And if somebody says, Man, you know what, everybody I know comes to me for everything. That’s, that’s a compliment. That means that they know that you can handle whatever it is they’re gonna say, and you’re gonna be honest with them.

Alyssa Patmos 31:02
Yeah. Yeah, the group mentality discussion, I think, is important. And I don’t think we always talk about the impact of that. And I think that goes back to somewhat what we were talking about in the beginning around identity, when you can cling to an identity, and you’re so rigid around clinging to it, if you’re not as flexible, it’s harder to be able to say, Actually, wait, I did like this about Trump, or I do like this about Biden, because then you feel like you’re going against that identity. And so if you can relax in that, and not have to be like, Oh, my gosh, I am 100% Republican, or I am 100%, Democrat and Republicans are terrible, then then there’s so much more freedom to be an individual thinker. And that holds so much power for how we would actually be able to change things in the world.

Dr. Mitch Harlan 31:58
We’ve absolutely lost individualism we are right now, we are a cult group culture. And this is why the country continues to spiral down the way it is. There’s there’s solutions, there’s ideas, there’s options to everything in life. And the moment that you become a group mentality thinker. solver, it’s not going to work. But for some reason, we have decided that this is okay. This is how we’re going to go and it’s either this way or or you’re wrong. And this is why there’s so much division in this country right now.

Alyssa Patmos 32:27
We live that we live in a very codependent society. And that’s a big word. But like basically, many people outsource their authority to other people to solve problems for them. And in some ways, it’s the government in some ways, it’s it can be religion, it doesn’t mean it always is, but it can be putting power outside yourself. Be can be, it can even be gurus, and suppose it thought leaders or celebrities who also form these cult like personas, where people just follow what they say without thinking about it. And I think that is so so so so damaging the point where we now say, Okay, it’s up to you to decide things for me, it’s up to you to to hear, let me hand over power, and you decide everything, but then I’m kind of going to be resentful if you don’t get it right. We do this in our intimate personal relationships too, from time to time, where we give the other person the power over us. But then we resent them when it doesn’t go how we wanted, but we didn’t actually express our needs. And is it is rife in in storytelling and the dramas that we see on TV, we see codependent relationships as the model and it is destructive beyond belief. And it pops up in multiple areas of society. And so, for me, I think one of the biggest things to start shifting people out of that is is the simple act of like, what do I need today? Because so many people can’t answer that. If you go in with it being the lens of okay, how can I be more of myself around other people, that opens up the power to truly be an individual in a group, which is something that people are terrified of, at times, because we get so concerned about what other people think. So when I lead experiences, that’s one of the things that I’m always trying to encourage and create environments where it fosters that essence of how do I learn to be myself around others because so many things, we try to shut down or protect ourselves or hide off or cut off on our ability so that we don’t have to do that because we’re too worried what other people think.

Dr. Mitch Harlan 34:43
When you’re worried about what somebody else is thinking, forget it, it’s already done for you.

Alyssa Patmos 34:48
I have similar experience with that path. And I always say to myself, you know, like what I appreciate appreciate because where we choose to place our attention matters. So much and so are we placing our attention on what we don’t want? Or are we placing our attention on what we do want? That is the choice that we get to make every single day that that drastically shapes how events in our life unfold on any given day.

Dr. Mitch Harlan 35:15
Yeah, you know, I think you’re exactly right. So,

Alyssa Patmos 35:19
There are some other topics that we have not talked about one of them being God. And I’m trying to decide how I want to throw this out here. So there, there are new age circles, there are traditional religious circles, there are non spiritual circles at the moment, I grew up very religious. And then when I was in high school, it was no longer for me. And that doesn’t mean I don’t have a respect for certain practices of religion, but it means it’s not for me anymore. And I have a very possibilitarian approach to life now where I’m like, I don’t I don’t need to know the answer. And that has been such a huge thing for me, getting to the point where I can be more uncomfortable with the unknown in some ways that’s helped with OCD, because I’m not trying to control everything in the environment, then by tapping stuff. So there are all these different interpretations of who God is and what God can be and what God does for people. And I am sure you have interviewed tons of people who bring different perspectives there. So what are some things that you noticed, by hearing so many stories about people’s relationship with that?

Dr. Mitch Harlan 36:37
Yeah, that’s one of my favorite topics. Literally, I – Yeah, this one, this is a topic that could go on and on and on and on. So when producer Chad and I, we started this thing, we knew that a lot of these stories that we were gonna do, we’re going to be super heavy, super heavy stories. And what’s really fun about some of the stories that we’ve documented, one of them was a guy by the name of Mark oz Geist, he was in the 13 hours in Benghazi, they made the movie after the guy he was on the building, shooting all these insurgents as they’re, they’re coming up on our annex. And and I said, Mark, you know, what, what, what got you through that? And he says, You know what he says, during that moment, he goes, there was two things, I thought, either I’m going to see God, or I’m going home to see my wife. I thought, Whoa, okay. And he goes, and I was good with either one of those. And we did another one with a Navy Seal, Chad Williams, a guy that had a lot of issues growing up, and he gets through the Navy SEAL program, he goes through this Jesus thing with his parents, his guy ends up getting saved and changes his entire outlook on life. Some of the addiction stories, God comes up, and we’re like, wow, you know what, a lot of these stories that we’re doing are faith based. I mean, there’s just a whole lot of faith base. Me personally, I believe with 100% of my fiber, there’s a God, I believe there’s something after this, there’s no doubt. And so sometimes when you’re doing stories, sometimes God shows up, maybe because I want him to write another option of the way things go. I’ll leave it at this with this. I think this is a great topic. No, right. So we just went to the pinnacle. We just went to God, right? So there’s something special to me about. When I think of God in the way I think of it is, I pray over my kids, I want you know, I want I want them to be safe at all times, for health, for, for finances, for everything that goes and for me, my relationship is always that, you know, I just want the good in people, I want to see the good I want the blessings, I want anything that can come my way that just makes life easier. And when I was doing my research with Sam Harris, the conclusion I came up with was listen either got to believe a human being as one of the most fallible beings out there, right. Which brings up another topic of if God Mason or Oh, man, why are we so fallible? I believe if we weren’t fallible, we would never need a god, there would be no need. If we were all perfect, there would be no need for that segment right of life. So I can just tell you from my experiences, and I’m not here to convince anybody of anything. But I can tell you my experiences on the heaviest of heaviest stories that we do. And I have documented not only with book format, but also in true talks. When it gets to a point where there is no return. It is astronomical the percentage of people that turn to God and find the way out. And that’s kind of where I would leave that segment.

Alyssa Patmos 39:18
I think… Can I add something really quick?

Dr. Mitch Harlan 39:22
Yeah, add it.

Alyssa Patmos 39:23
Okay. I think I, I think something you said is really, really important that also drives home, the mission behind your show, and to an extent, my show, and that is you’re not having to convince anyone. And they’re and I think you hold so much more influence when we take that approach because rather than trying to coerce someone or persuade them to think like we are showing up and sharing from this place of hey here, here’s my experience. leads to the ability for me to think, Okay, what what about this relates to my life? What do I agree with? What do I disagree with, and then it holds more influence because it plants a seed that then can grow in me rather than it having to be this, I now have to believe the exact same thing that you believe convincing mentality. And I think that’s one of the reasons why people stepping out and being willing to share a story, whether that’s publicly or whether that is just in writing, or writing a letter to a friend, or just showing up in a conversation with a friend, being willing to share a piece of your story, I think, is one of the most powerful things we can do to connect our humanity and get back to get back to certain elements of ourselves, where it where, where we can, I don’t know experience more joy, where we are, we can evolve and begin to have more resilience and move forward. In in our approach, I think people sharing their stories is the most powerful thing that that they can do.

Dr. Mitch Harlan 41:07
You are right. And here’s where I want to end this. I wanted to do this podcast because I I want to have also a voice with younger people. And I chose you I saw some of the stuff you did. And I really liked what you did. And here’s here’s the beauty. And the reason I wanted to do this, if I have younger people coming on my show, and they’re like, Man, this old geezer is full of shit, right? I want them to be able to see yours, and still come to your show, and maybe get some help or get something that inspires them to do something different and make them better. Listen, no one’s gonna agree. Not everyone’s gonna agree with anything we say. And that’s just the way life is. But I love speaking I love this conversation. I actually love this podcast. And I think again, the beauty and what we want to come out of this is whether or not we agree on everything agree on each topic or how we even approach this topic. Today, we have given options to some people and they can then decide hey, you know what, I still want to get better. I’m either going to go this way or that way. So I appreciate you so much for taking this on and and doing some research and doing all that stuff. But that’s that’s really what I want as podcasts and I feel we nailed it.

Alyssa Patmos 42:13
Thank you so much for having me and for doing this mashup. I love this format and and it was fun. I loved it. And I think that you know there are nuggets in here whether for whoever people resonate with, I love it.

You’ve just finished listening to another episode of Make It Mentionable with me, your host, Alyssa Patmos. If you’re looking for more in between episodes, then sign up for The Peel. It’s my free newsletter that gives tips for how to navigate whatever life dishes and it’s also the place where I share the juiciest of stories. To check it out, head on over to Thank you so much for tuning in, and I’ll see you next time.

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